June 2012 Newsletter, Volume 60
I. THE FANDOM IS COMING! THE FANDOM IS COMING!
Our top OTW story for June has to be the growing crush of users and user hopefuls at the AO3 and the resulting groans from our favorite fanworks ship. It was all hands on deck, primarily for those on the Accessibility, Design and Technology and Systems committees, but also from Support and Communications, who posted and tweeted about the problems to keep users in the loop, handled user questions and fed reported issues to our team of coders.
AD&T worked closely with Systems to make adjustments to our servers and to increase the amount and kind of caching we do of the site content, as well as improving performance monitoring and looking into options for hardware and software upgrades. We've had 7 separate code releases so far in June, some big and some small, and we're grateful to all of the coders and testers for their hard work! Our next big project is finishing the rewrite of the filtering code and the upgrade to our search engine so that we can restore that functionality to the site in new and improved shape. We're also thinking about ways to handle the backlog of people in our invite queue and scheduling Open Doors import projects for a time when site performance has stabilized. Thanks to all of our users for their patience!
Tag Wrangling was affected by the outages and slowdowns as many of our volunteers were also blocked from using the site. Since the AO3 stabilized, their crack team of wrangling volunteers has made great progress in getting caught up. A special shout-out to the epic individual(s) who sorted through 900 characters in a couple of days!
Similarly, Support caught up on tickets and put together a From FF.N to AO3 FAQ to help new users from that site. They've also created a new FAQ page documenting our publicly accessible tools, including Trello, GCode, and Github, in order to increase accessibility. Translation has been working with them on a process for answering AO3 support requests in languages other than English.
II. FANLORE and TWC
In the meantime Wiki has been waging its own site battle against a wave of spam. The Wiki Committee is working with Systems to research and test better spam protection options. In the meantime, this filter hides the sea of red. They also welcomed new staffer Tuulia to the committee, and proposed some more fanworks categories (check out the Dreamwidth discussion post here).
Journal had a neat achievement, publishing TWC No. 10, a special issue about fan activism guest edited by Henry Jenkins and Sangita Shresthova, right on time on June 15. TWC's next issue, to be released on September 15, will go into production shortly, and they are already at work soliciting for the first two issues of 2013. The Symposium Blog has posted new meta-ish posts from its editorial team members and the committee encourages others to share their thinky thoughts by writing for them.
III. MAKING YOUR VOICES HEARD
Tisha Turk and Francesca Coppa of Vidding joined Rebecca Tushnet of Legal and Corynne McSherry of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in Washington D.C. on June 4, 2012 to testify at the DMCA. Turk in particular was able to explain in fairly small words why the screencapture software that opponents were suggesting we use instead of having an exemption wouldn't work for vidders. You can see our Revised Test Suite and Image Gallery for some of their exhibits and Turk and Tushnet both posted about the day's testimony
We are now awaiting a decision about whether the DMCA exemption that allows US vidders to rip small clips from DVDs will be continued.
IV. THERE ARE OTHER COMMITTEES?
Internationalization & Outreach wrote a heavily revised draft of the Archive Diversity Statement and circulated it to other committees for final comments. They had the Category Change workgroup officially approved by the Board: this group will revise the categories displayed on the fandoms page of the AO3 to ensure they reflect the diversity of international fandom. The workgroup is already at work so more news should be forthcoming in July.
Communications has been working closely with the Survey workgroup on its Survey Sunday posts. The workgroup is also preparing preliminary reports for specific committees to augment the data analysis with discussion and interpretation which can later be shared through future Survey Sunday posts.
Speaking of the survey posts, Development & Membership have been reflecting on feedback received through the OTW Community Survey and are planning improvements to the donation page. We expect this same process to take place across committees as the survey data is shared. They have also been working with Open Doors about con outreach, and will have an information table at Ascendio on July 13.
Comms extended some outreach to Tumblr with the launch of its First Friday event to raise some awareness of our newest OTW news outlet. Several hundred people have started following the account!
Board minutes have not yet been posted for June but you can look for them here in the coming weeks. They’ve set up a new elections workgroup to revise the FAQs and prepare for next year, and Jenny Scott-Thompson has been appointed as elections officer.
Finance has been continuing to work on documenting procedures so that newer staff can then get more involved. They're also negotiating new non-profit discounts with suppliers.
Strategic Planning received some quality feedback on their first survey questions from the Tag Wrangler cochairs, team founder, and the AD&T liaisons. They plan to begin formally analyzing that this week. They have also finalized survey questions for the Tag Wrangler staff & volunteer groups and are in the process of working out the confidentiality issues involved in implementing these and future surveys. A new update post is in the works.
VI. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEEPS
Volunteers & Recruiting has completed a revision of their internal wiki categories which will allow them to better sort current documentation and provide more intuitive subcategories for future documentation. To improve the process of tracking volunteer commitment and inter-committee roles, they've researched liaison roles, from the Board liaisons to liaisons between individual committees. They're also on the last steps of moving volunteer records from our old database to our new, more secure database, championed by staffer tekla over the last few months. The new database is run with CiviCRM and allows multiple layers of security for our volunteers and their data. The move has been a long, complicated project, but the end is in sight! They have also been drafting an organizational Code of Conduct with the help of a volunteer consultant.
Recruiting-wise, they are continuing work to place and contact the people who volunteered during the April membership drive run by Development & Membership. Because of this, recruitment is still closed, as the surge highlighted severe deficiencies in how we process volunteers. However, to help our technical committees, VolCom has developed a technical recruitment form and created a temporary system that will allow us to effectively bring in additional experienced help. We hope to debut the form soon!
*New Staffers List* AlexElizabeth (Support), Amanda Furrow (Systems), Angylinni (Webmasters), Emma (Translation), Eva Bolinder (Translation), Feng (Translation)
*New Workgroup Members:* wingedamber (Content Policy)
*New Coding Volunteers*: ecuoln
*New Translators*: aladdin, basang, blurryyou, fiammanda, fishshell, Kate, Margo, Myriam Levy, rocksoundc, Shimi, slashkit, yoghurt
*Departing Staffers*: Amanda G. Michaels (Communications), baerga69 (Webmasters), Sara K. Howe (Journal), Sheila Lane (Finance)
*Departing Tag Wranglers*: anenko